DA man withdraws as attorney of record for small parties tackling election results

2019-05-11 16:15
Elections 2019
Smaller parties brief the media at the IEC Results Centre on Friday. (Kyle Cowan, News24)

The attorney acting on behalf of 35 small political parties that are threatening the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to force a rerun of the election, has withdrawn as attorney of record.

Hans-Jurie Moolman, who is also a DA councillor from Tlokwe in Potchefstroom, with withdrew on Saturday also helped the parties find new legal representation.

This was confirmed to News24 by Moolman.

New24 previously reported that James Selfe, the DA's federal executive chairperson, believed that Moolman was conflicted by acting for the small parties while being part of the DA.

DA was one of the parties threatening legal action.

READ MORE DA man in hot water for representing small parties against IEC

"This is an issue for the DA. He has maintained that he is just advising, not acting, for them, but we think this is just a matter of semantics. This is a very real problem,” Selfe said.

"It is not in the DA's interest for the election to be delayed or for any of the demands of the tiny parties to be acceded to. We believe the party's strategic interests are compromised by his interest in the case.”

Despite his withdrawal, Moolman maintained that he did believe there is a conflict of interest.

However, holding to professional ethics, “even a perception of bias that would impact on my integrity is enough for me to stand back,” he told News24.

Moolman’s firm, Moolman and Pienaar Incorporated, wrote to the IEC on Friday, demanding that an independent firm audit cases of double voting and other alleged election irregularities.

READ MORE: No legal basis to interdict election results - IEC responds to disgruntled smaller parties

The parties gave the IEC until 11:00 on Saturday to appoint an independent audit firm to conduct an audit of the election, or they would take further legal steps, including approaching the courts for an interdict to stop the declaration of the election results.

On Saturday morning, the through a lawyer's letter seen by News24, the Electoral Commission IEC has said there is no basis in law to interdict the declaration of the election results and that it will oppose any legal action.

"The results have been made publicly available  in real time for the past few days and are widely known. No irreparable legal consequences flow from a declaration of the results by our client," the letter reads.

It further states: "Moreover, your clients have a range of statutory and litigation options to pursue should they genuinely be aggrieved by the commission's decision on any objections that they may have lodged or the commission's declaration of the results. All of this can still occur after the results have been declared."

The letter also argues that there is case law that holds the view that courts are not empowered to grant interdicts against the exercise of statutory and constitutional powers prior to these powers being exercised, rather that the appropriate challenge can be made after the exercise of powers has occurred.

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